CD 5, track 24
If you expected early “hillbilly” recordings of string-band music to be exclusively centered on “traditional” tunes, handed down over the generations, you’re in for a surprise. From 1925, here’s McMichen’s Home Town Band performing “Silver Bell.” That’s right, “Silver Bell,” the 1910 pop hit composed by Percy Wenrich. The record was made at the first session of future Skillet Licker Clayton McMichen. McMichen plays fiddle and is joined by the banjo of Bob Stephens, the guitar of Lowe Stokes, and—in another big surprise—the clarinet of Robert “Punk” Stephens, Jr.